Investigation of the antibacterial effects of silver-modified TiO2 and ZnO plasmonic photocatalysts embedded in polymer thin films

Environ Sci Pollut Res Int. 2014 Oct;21(19):11155-67. doi: 10.1007/s11356-014-2568-6. Epub 2014 Feb 5.


Nanosilver-modified TiO2 and ZnO photocatalysts were studied against methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus on the surface and against naturally occurring airborne microorganisms. The photocatalysts/polymer nanohybrid films were prepared by spray coating technique on the surface of glass plates and on the inner surface of the reactive light source. The photoreactive surfaces were activated with visible light emitting LED light at λ = 405 nm. The optical properties of the prepared photocatalyst/polymer nanohybrid films were characterized by diffuse reflectance measurements. The photocatalytic properties were verified with the degradation of ethanol by gas chromatography measurements. The destruction of the bacterial cell wall component was examined with transmission electron microscope. The antibacterial effect of the photocatalyst/polymer nanohybrid films was tested with different methods and with the associated standard ISO 27447:2009. With the photoreactive coatings, an extensive disinfectant film was developed and successfully prepared. The cell wall component of S. aureus was degraded after 1 h of illumination. The antibacterial effect of the nanohybrid films has been proven by measuring the decrease of the number of methicillin-resistant S. aureus on the surface and in the air as the function of illumination time. The photocatalyst/polymer nanohybrid films could inactivate 99.9 % of the investigated bacteria on different thin films after 2 h of illumination with visible light source. The reactive light source with the inner-coated photocatalyst could kill 96 % of naturally occurring airborne microorganisms after 48 h of visible light illumination in indoor air sample. The TEM results and the microbiological measurements were completed with toxicity tests carried out with Vibrio fischeri bioluminescence bacterium.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aliivibrio fischeri / drug effects
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / chemistry
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / pharmacology*
  • Catalysis
  • Chromatography, Gas
  • Ethanol
  • Light*
  • Luminescent Measurements
  • Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus / drug effects*
  • Microscopy, Electron, Transmission
  • Photochemical Processes*
  • Polymers / chemistry
  • Silver / chemistry*
  • Titanium / chemistry*
  • Toxicity Tests


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Polymers
  • titanium dioxide
  • Ethanol
  • Silver
  • Titanium